E46 BMW Social Directory E46 FAQ 3-Series Discussion Forums BMW Photo Gallery BMW 3-Series Technical Information E46 Fanatics - The Ultimate BMW Resource BMW Vendors General E46 Forum The Tire Rack's Tire Wheel Forum Forced Induction Forum The Off-Topic The E46 BMW Showroom For Sale, For Trade or Wanting to Buy

Welcome to the E46Fanatics forums. E46Fanatics is the premiere website for BMW 3 series owners around the world with interactive forums, a geographical enthusiast directory, photo galleries, and technical information for BMW enthusiasts.

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest which gives you limited access to view most discussions and access our other features. By joining our free community you will have access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload content and access many other special features. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please, join our community today!

If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please contact contact us.

Go Back   E46Fanatics > E46 BMW > General E46 Forum

General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rating: Thread Rating: 4 votes, 3.75 average. Display Modes
Old 01-14-2013, 09:57 AM   #81
SterlingArcher
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Boston
Posts: 14
My Ride: 325Ci
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bim3Por911 View Post
I too have the shifted coolant gauge syndrome. It seems to manifest itself if the car sits outside in temperatures below 25°F. I'll do the "Easter Egg" gauge reset when the temperatures warm and the gauge will go back to normal. I bought a new battery last spring, reset the gauges and I was 12 o'clock high with the gauge until the car saw 25°F overnight, and then it shifted again. The telltale is the zero position of the gauge when it's dead cold. It's about 1 mm clockwise from normal. The center reading is similarly offset.

When I first encountered the shifte gauge syndrome I reset the gauges multiple times and it just wouldn't stay permanently "fixed". The battery I had was nine years old so installed a new DuraLast battery and then the reset took semi-permanently.

I used the "Easter Egg" gauge cluster info to read the actual coolant temp - it's a consistent 93 - 94°C. When I got the car in 2011 it had the original coolant pump in it so I replaced it with the high zoot EMP Stewart pump which has a 25% higher flow rate than stock.

SterlingArcher - For what you've spent on cooling system components you could have installed a complete Zionsville All Aluminum retrofit including the $400 metal thermostat housing. Go to Zionsville.com to have a look at what they make for the e46. If you go that route you'll never worry about your cooling system anymore regardless of the silly gauge antics - unless you've got parts from a disintegrated pump lodged somewhere.

As I said before - I'm convinced that the cooling gauge offset is an electrical issue and has nothing to do with the health of your cooling system - unless you're actually seeing gauge EXCURSIONS as you drive and that's a different matter. For more peace of mind try getting a DVM with a thermocouple adapter (I've got a Fluke that I use) and actually read the surface temperature of the expansion tank. See if it fluctuates or is different from what the #21 test reading tells you.
Yes, always in retrospect is it easy to see how much better the money could have been spent. It's difficult however, when it's one thing at a time over the course of a year.

I never would have spent so much troubleshooting just a needle issue if it had not always been accompanied by the SES - P0128 code. Up until last week when I replaced the radiator again I had never seen the two as separate issues. Prior to the P0128 code I had never seen the needle being off-center and due to P0128 occurring the first time with an over-heat, and almost an over-heat on the second; I certainly wasn't going to "leave it alone".

And of course troubleshooting P0128, everyone I talked to said that 99.9% of the time its a coolant thermostat issue. Hence, the 3 thermostat's I went through before considering other parts as the issue.

As it turned out, if you've been following my posts, it ended up being a low-flow issue with a Behr replacement radiator I had used just after installing the first of my three thermostat's. I don't think anyone would have guessed that given an overheat P0128, it certainly was not my first guess as the culprit.

Since replacing the Behr radiator with a BMW radiator, all my P0128 issues are resolved. The car no longer has a coolant temp that fluctuates to the hot side or threatens to over-heat. What has however, identified itself to be a separate issue is the needle being shifted, under normal conditions, just a couple mms to the right of it's previous normal resting spot.

BUT, with no SES code present and the ability to watch the coolant temp remain steady with Test7 on the digital display; I am certainly not going to spend my time worrying about just the normal needle position being slightly shifted.

And as it turns out, I gather this needle issue is not uncommon from all the other posts about it. It seems to be an issue with cold temps and old needle position motors that is resettable in the short term using Test21 OBC reset once the car/gauge is at a warm enough temp. This will only last though, until the next time the gauge is out in the cold below approx 25F for some amount of time.

I would bet a new instrument cluster (with new gauge/ needle position motor) would solve this problem but, I won't be spending the money right now to find out!

- Sterling
SterlingArcher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-14-2013, 10:06 AM   #82
SterlingArcher
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Boston
Posts: 14
My Ride: 325Ci
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayPooley View Post
The guage is just a guide. The best way to check coolant and oil temperatures is through a scanner. These values are monitored and stored in DME. I don't think you can really draw any conclusions from the fact that the needle is 1 mm to the right of the middle mark. I certainly would not go spending **** loads of money on anything until I had run time values from the DME.
My guess is cxvarol only had the issue because of an aging instrument cluster/ shifted needle position in cold ambient temps; no coolant temp issues, he didn't mention any fluctuating temp or overheats, nor any SES codes.

He never posted again once being told how to verify his coolant temp right from the digital display.

- Sterling
SterlingArcher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2014, 10:55 PM   #83
Autowerks
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Monterey co.
Posts: 3
My Ride: 2001 325i
I have also been dealing with a temperature guage needle slightly to the right, just noticed it one day. Bled the system several times with the same result in the end. Scanner shows normal, constantly and does not increase when the needle spikes just above dead center. replaced thermostat, and temp sensors, no difference. I reset all adaptations by disconnecting the negative battery terminal and touching it to the positive for a few seconds. Started the engine and my needle is back to dead center. not sure if it was the proper procedure or just dumb luck, but it was a fix. I asked several of my Euro tech buddies and they have not heard of doing that on a bmw. I've been working with European cars for over 20 years and its a first for me as well. hope that helps someone having this issue. This was on my personal 2001 325i. hesitant to try this on a customers car.
Autowerks is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2014, 11:01 PM   #84
Cowspoo
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Chicago
Posts: 655
My Ride: 328Ci
Just get used to it. Check your temps on the digital OBD2 to make you sleep at night.
__________________
spacebarissolazy
doesntfeelikebeingpressed
Cowspoo is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2014, 11:34 PM   #85
Autowerks
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Monterey co.
Posts: 3
My Ride: 2001 325i
I prefer to fix it and not "get used to it" thanks, no offence
Autowerks is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2014, 11:41 PM   #86
SterlingArcher
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Boston
Posts: 14
My Ride: 325Ci
@Autowerks

My guess is that it will stay fixed for a random amount of time and then one day, best guess 1-10 days from your reset, you'll find the needle back to the right side.

The test 20 or test 22? function in the Instrument cluster (I cant remember off the top of my head) that resets all the gauges will also "fix" the issue for a random amount of time. The grounding out of the electrical system that you did effectively did the same as the reset function, in my best guess.

If I had the expendable income I would buy a new instrument cluster to verify that it is the problem, aging needle servo or something. If for some reason replacing the instrument cluster didn't work, that only leaves the control board, maybe an aging resistor or capacitor there that is slightly shifting the voltage to the instrument cluster.

Either way, the problem has never gone away for long on my car since I posted. I can reset it anytime for a temporary fix. It was temporarily dead-center after I installed a capacitor in parallel with my subwoofer amplifier and I suspect its for the same reason your's is fixed now, because in order to install that capacitor I had to disconnect the battery and reset the electrical system.

Environmental temp does seem to be a factor, my needle was dead center for half of last summer, which leads me to think cold temp is somehow involved.

As you described while having the shifted needle, the coolant temp is fine, thermostat is functioning normal and good coolant flow is present. I have watched my coolant temp on the digital display in the instrument cluster remain stable as the engine warms and the needle goes past center... So, I've just been living with it.

However, it is not "normal" and still bugs me a little bit ;-)
Quite a strange little bug in my opinion.

Good luck and thanks for the post! Hopefully yours stays fixed but if not let me know here, I'd be curious how long it takes to shift right again.

- Sterling



Sent from BimmerApp mobile app
SterlingArcher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2014, 11:45 PM   #87
SterlingArcher
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Boston
Posts: 14
My Ride: 325Ci
Engine Temperature Slightly High

I agree Autowerks, I much prefer to fix things and not just ignore them because they present no immediate issue. There is something that is not functioning as it should and I'd prefer to know it isn't something that will fail unexpectedly and leave me with an overheating car etc...

Because I couldn't think of much else to do, I have been living with it now which is the only reason I can at least say, if you don't end up "fixing" it, I wouldn't worry about any break down or damage because of it. It will however continue to annoy the crap out of you.

I would still very much like to know for sure where the failing component is.

- Sterling


Sent from BimmerApp mobile app

Last edited by SterlingArcher; 03-31-2014 at 11:46 PM.
SterlingArcher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2014, 11:50 PM   #88
Autowerks
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Monterey co.
Posts: 3
My Ride: 2001 325i
Exactly, Thanks for the info and the theory behind it. I'm still watching it everyday "waiting" but so far its been normal for the last month
If I find something as far as a solid failure I will definitely post.
Thanks again
Mike
Autowerks is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-17-2014, 03:35 AM   #89
Rytr7
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: hamilton
Posts: 31
My Ride: 2001 e46 325ci
My '01 325 sits a hair to the right....has for a couple of years...over 300k. measures no higher than 92 C. Tried laying the nickle on edge and it stayed up for 10 seconds(fan blew it over). Therefore, put 100k with needle to the right and never went more than 1/16 inch past true. Bosch, Smiths...Lucas, Veglia...all tarred with the same brush!!!!
Rytr7 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-18-2014, 08:57 AM   #90
Bim3Por911
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Cleveland, OH
Posts: 92
My Ride: 328i & 911T
I recall reading somewhere on this board that there's a capacitor or the solder leads to a capacitor in the instrument cluster that eventually gives up and results in the gauge reading slightly to the right. It has nothing to do with the actual function of the cooling system and you'll find that using the Easter Egg menu reveals the coolant temp is between 92 and 93 C as it's always been. Yes, you can replace the instrument cluster if it REALLY nags you. I have 147k on my car and it's done the same thing. I've replaced the radiator, and installed a Stewart pump, new T-stat, and hoses;and the gauge still reads about 10° high and doesn't move. I just live with it knowing my coolant system is sound and is checked regularly.
__________________
Fahren in seiner Äußerst Form
Bim3Por911 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-18-2014, 12:06 PM   #91
jdstrickland
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Murrieta, CA
Posts: 6,863
My Ride: '94 325iC & '00 323i
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rytr7 View Post
My '01 325 sits a hair to the right....has for a couple of years...over 300k. measures no higher than 92 C. Tried laying the nickle on edge and it stayed up for 10 seconds(fan blew it over). Therefore, put 100k with needle to the right and never went more than 1/16 inch past true. Bosch, Smiths...Lucas, Veglia...all tarred with the same brush!!!!
If the needle is anywhere between the 1/4 & 3/4 marks, they say it is okay. I'm not sure I buy into that, but surely if the needle is a needle-width or so to either side of the center line, the temp is fine and you are obsessing over nothing.

PS
You posted "me too" to a discussion that's not had any input for months and your input does not add anything. You're supposed to avoid doing that.
jdstrickland is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-18-2014, 12:56 PM   #92
Rytr7
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: hamilton
Posts: 31
My Ride: 2001 e46 325ci
I extend my apologies for my ignorance...I will be more careful.
Rytr7 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-18-2014, 01:26 PM   #93
jdstrickland
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Murrieta, CA
Posts: 6,863
My Ride: '94 325iC & '00 323i
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rytr7 View Post
I extend my apologies for my ignorance...I will be more careful.
No worries. I'm sure we've all done it. Your transgression was not really worth getting my knickers in a twist about, but we often see a post that's been dead for 5 or 10 years and a newbie will come along and report that his did the same thing and he fixed it with bailing wire and bubble gum. Basically, "me too," for something that nobody has talked about for years.
jdstrickland is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
coolant, engine temperature, needle

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Censor is ON





All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:56 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
(c) 1999 - 2011 performanceIX Inc - privacy policy - terms of use